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Strategies to Move Toward a Circular Economy – Environment + Energy Leader

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For companies that are just starting out in the world of circularity, it can be unclear exactly how to get started and what the end goal is. Business leaders might find themselves talking in circles around the topic without making any progress, especially when talking to different stakeholder groups across their company or when looking at peers in their industries. Circularity can seem like an impossible end goal, but there are strategies to help you start and move toward a circular economy.

Understanding Traditional Linear Economy vs Circular Economy

To understand the different circular economy strategies, you first must understand the current model of production, consumption, and disposal. This traditional model has been termed the linear economy. The linear economy was born out of the industrial revolution and has driven tremendous global economic growth. However, this growth has been based on the unabated conversion of the world’s natural capital to material goods, which potentially implies long-term depletion of our natural resources.

On the other hand, the circular economy seeks to remedy this imbalance by keeping our natural capital in an extended – and ideally endless – loop. Manufactured goods are repaired, reprocessed, and recycled so that the base materials can be reused. Many people think of the classic “blue jeans” example when they think of circular economy. In this example a pair of jeans is made with sustainably sourced materials and an efficient design process. The consumer rents the jeans – meaning they will wear the jeans for as long as they like and when they are finished, they will return the jeans to be recycled. The cotton and materials used in the jeans will then be recycled and repurposed. Extending the product’s life creates jobs, and energy, resources, and waste are conserved by not manufacturing something new.

Circular Economy Business Strategies

While the blue jeans example seems like an ideal system of circularity, it’s just one strategy and may not be practical for every type of business. Employing one of the five circular economy business strategies listed below can present a host of new opportunities for your business.

1.      Product-as-a-Service: This strategy focuses on leasing access to a solution instead of selling ownership of a product. Services can reduce cost volatility and create more active customer relationships.

2.      Embedding Intelligence: A company with this circular business strategy builds technology into their materials or products to gather user data to improve the customer experience.

3.      Product Life Extension: This strategy helps businesses extend the life of their products to make sure that they remain useful. Companies make sure a product is used for as long as possible and stay out of landfills by repairing, remanufacturing, or remarketing materials.

4.      Smart Material Choices: A circular business strategy that considers a product’s end of life treatment when first choosing the materials. A company using this strategy for example would choose recycled, recyclable, or biodegradable materials when designing their product.

5.      Closed Loop / Take Back: Businesses pursing this circular economy business strategy provide a service to collect old or used products and recovering the value in the materials by recycling or reusing them to make new products.

Circularity is Not a Perfect Circle

“Often when people think of moving to a circular business model, they picture one large, continuous circle for their material flows. However, in many cases, circular business models do not operate in perfect, closed loops. Most circular business models can be thought of as cascading flows of materials that stay in use but move across value chains and industries as the material quality or market needs change.” – Owen McKenna, Circular Economy Service Leader, Antea Group USA.

This concept may require a paradigm shift in thinking about how a business model can and should operate, as restructuring corporate strategy to fully embrace circularity could force a reconsideration of multiple aspects of a company’s business model including design, manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal at end of life. Companies must re-imagine how their supply chains could be organized to reduce risk. As sustainability and environmental stewardship receive more attention from shareholders, customers, and society-at-large, industry can adapt by leveraging circularity to capture greater value from materials and products and designing out waste.

Not a “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving circularity. It is an ongoing process unique to each company that will continue growing and improving overtime. Circularity does not happen overnight. Each company will have their own path to circularity that starts with making the decision to pursue a circular business strategy moving away from a traditional linear economy.

Antea Group is engaged in a wide range of circular economy forums and projects around the world, in both public and private industry. Contact Antea Group today to learn more about circular economy business strategies and how they can help you start your journey towards circularity.

More About Antea Group:
Antea Group is an international engineering and environmental consulting firm specializing in full-service solutions in the fields of environment, infrastructure, urban planning, and water. By combining strategic thinking and multidisciplinary perspectives with technical expertise and pragmatic action, we do more than effectively solve client challenges; we deliver sustainable results for a better future. We serve clients ranging from global energy companies and manufacturers to national governments and local municipalities. Learn more at https://us.anteagroup.com/.

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A Taliban ban on women in the workforce can cost economy $1bn – Aljazeera.com

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A full recovery of the Afghan economy will not happen without female participation, according to a new UNDP report.

By Bloomberg

The Taliban’s move to restrict women from working could immediately cost the Afghan economy up to $1 billion, or 5% of GDP, the United Nations Development Programme said in a new report as the militant group seeks global help to avert a deepening crisis.

The UN report painted a grim picture of Afghanistan’s economy which is under strain with soaring inflation and an ongoing cash crunch. Women account for 20% of the country’s workforce and preventing them from working could shave half a billion dollars alone from household consumption, it said.

Over the weekend the Taliban’s acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan sought global help in preventing a further crisis and gave assurances that the women’s rights would be protected based on Sharia law, under which they can study and work. While Hassan isn’t the first official from the new Afghan government to seek help, his administration hasn’t given clear directions on how they will support women.

The UN report found that the militant group had told all female government employees to stay at home and banned most girls from going to school after they swept into power in August. Only a small number of women in essential services like nursing have been asked to resume work.

“I want to say very clearly that there isn’t a real full recovery of the Afghan economy without female participation,” Abdallah al Dardari, the head of UNDP, said in an interview. “Our initial results show that the contribution of educated women to the Afghan productivity is higher than that of men with the same level of education.”

Restricting women from social life, including employment, adds more uncertainty to Afghanistan as it grapples with a sudden freeze in international aid which contributes as much as 40% of its GDP and 80% of the budget spending, the report said. The country’s GDP will contract 20% within a year and the decline may accelerate to 30% in the following years, it added.

Over $9 billion in Afghanistan reserves overseas remain frozen by the U.S. and its Western allies on concerns over the Taliban’s continued links with terrorism, human rights abuses and failure to build an inclusive government. The Taliban have constantly asked for these funds to be released — a request echoed by acting prime minister Hassan.

Afghanistan would need $6 billion to $8 billion in international grants annually to fund basic services, support growth and sustain peacemaking efforts, Al Dardari said. The country would require an estimated $2 billion to just lift the incomes those in extreme poverty to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe, he added.

The Taliban’s plea for the world to release the assets and resume aid could help “in the very short term,” although the bigger issue is to strengthen Afghanistan’s weak institutions said Adnan Mazarei a senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.“The de facto authorities are shooting themselves in the foot in many ways, including with the restrictions on women and others.”

Here’s some key facts and figures on women in Afghanistan:

  • The economic impact of educating a girl in Afghanistan is more than double that for educating a boy, according to the UN report.
  • The country was ranked 166 out of 167 countries on the UN’s gender development index in 2019.
  • More a quarter of the 400,000 civil servants in Afghanistan are women. They have been banned from working until there are sharia-related procedures in place to ensure their safety.
  • Millions of women voted in the last elections and 89 of the 352 members of parliament were female.
  • Taliban unveiled a 53-member cabinet in September, which did not include any woman. In the previous government, there were 13 women ministers and deputy ministers.

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India's economy grows by 8.4% amid signs of recovery – Yahoo Canada Finance

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NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s economy grew at an 8.4% annual pace in the July-September quarter in the latest sign of an economic recovery in Asia’s third-largest economy, the government reported Tuesday.

India suffered one of the biggest setbacks of any major economy in the last fiscal year.

In the same quarter a year before, the economy contracted by 7.4%, badly hit by rising COVID-19 cases and a stringent nationwide lockdown, with restrictions lasting months that dealt a huge blow to economic activity.

After a devastating surge in virus cases stoked by the delta variant earlier this year, the situation has improved in recent months. Daily cases have sunk to about 10,000 after breaching 400,000 in May. The pace of vaccinations has picked up, instilling confidence in reopening businesses and industries. Streets and markets across the country are now abuzz with activity.

Sectors like agriculture and mining performed well and helped lead the growth seen in the July-September quarter, experts said.

The economy expanded at a 20.1% pace in the April-June quarter, the fastest growth since India began publishing GDP figures in 1996. But economists cautioned that the rise was calculated from 2020’s smaller base, when the economy shrank by 24.4% in April-June, pulling the country into a recession.

A country enters a technical recession if its economy contracts for two successive quarters.

In 2020-21, India’s growth contracted by 7.3%, worsening from a slowdown that slashed growth to 4% from 8% in the two years before the pandemic hit.

The Associated Press

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Analysis-Japan keen to speed up digital yen launch as China adds geopolitical twist

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Japan‘s new political leadership is calling on the country’s financial bureaucrats to ramp up efforts toward issuing a digital currency, pointing to China’s far quicker progress as a potential challenge to the global economic order.

The government has increased staff looking into legal and technical aspects of issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which are digital forms of existing currencies.

While the political attention has yet to translate into any other direct investment, it is also likely to keep the Bank of Japan (BOJ) under pressure to shift away from its cautious, baby-step approach toward issuing a digital yen, analysts say.

“We must think about what could happen to Japan’s national security if other countries move ahead on CBDC,” said Takayuki Kobayashi, a minister overseeing economic security – a new role created under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration.

“Japan must speed things up so it’s ready to issue a digital yen any time,” he said.

A global front-runner, China has already run tests in major cities for a possible launch of a digital yuan next year. Japan, along with other G7 advanced nations, have moved much slower.

The BOJ only started the first phase of its experiment in April, and says it has no immediate plans to issue a digital yen. Pilot programmes, if any, won’t take place until 2023 at the earliest.

That lukewarm stance may be put to test as Kishida has made economic security a policy priority, and framed questions around CBDC beyond finance into one of national security.

While G7 central banks generally agree on the need to counter China on issues around privacy, the case is particularly strong for Japan as lawmakers worry about the growing economic might of its assertive neighbour.

Some influential ruling party lawmakers see China’s advances on CBDC as a potential threat to the dollar’s status as a global reserve currency, and the financial dominance of Washington – Japan’s biggest ally.

A close aide to Kishida told Reuters Japan must “work closely with the United States to counter any attempt that threatens the dollar’s reserve-currency status,” adding the BOJ was coordinating with the finance ministry to ensure speedy progress for issuing a digital yen.

Opposition parties have also called in their election campaign platforms for speeding up CBDC plans.

BOJ officials say China’s plan won’t directly affect the timeframe for their CBDC experiments as the key purpose of issuing a digital yen is to provide convenient, efficient payment and settlement means to the public.

What could affect the BOJ more than China’s plan would be how quickly its European and U.S. counterparts announce plans for issuing CBDCs, say sources familiar with its thinking.

Debate over issuing a digital yen may intensify next year as Kishida’s administration lays out details of its economic security plans, and as China is seen promoting its digital yuan at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in February.

“It’s clear Kishida’s administration and his ruling party are keen on issuing a digital yen,” said former BOJ board member Takahide Kiuchi, who is currently an economist at Japan’s Nomura Research Institute.

“If China launches a digital yuan next year and Europe’s central bank announces plans to issue a digital euro, that will have a huge impact on Japan and pile pressure on the BOJ.”

 

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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